Author: Clay & Susan Griffith
Series: Vampire Empire (#1)
How Received: publisher copy
Vampire predators run wild in this exciting steampunk adventure, the first in an alternate history trilogy that is already attracting attention. In 1870, monsters rise up and conquer the northern lands, As great cities are swallowed up by carnage and disease, landowners and other elite flee south to escape their blood-thirsty wrath.
One hundred fifty years later, the great divide still exists; fangs on one side of the border, worried defenders on the other. This fragile equilibrium is threatened, then crumbles after a single young princess becomes almost hopelessly lost in the hostile territory. At first, she has only one defender—a mysterious Greyfriar who roams freely in dangerous vampire regions.
Despite my recent disdain for vampire novels, I picked up The Greyfriar. Why? It was a Pyr title. They published Thief's Covenant. Their taste seemed impeccable.
Though The Greyfriar wasn't perfect, it didn't have the same problem that most vampire novels have this day: instalove.
No, instead, The Greyfriar creates a world full of vampires who will happily kill you, if given the chance. As the war between humans and vampires rages on - with vampires in control of London, and brash Americans killing them, and clever Europeans trying to figure out ways to unite countries in an attempt for peace - we get a story that actually takes its time to develop characters before throwing them into a love scenario.
Before I jump into what I liked about the story, I come with a forewarning: though vampire lovers should definitely read this, it does take a little while to get into. It took me over half the book before I really started enjoying it.
This, I think, has to do with the heavy information dumps that are splattered over the first half of the story. The first few pages are particularly heavy with giant clumps of world building mumbo-jumbo and, whenever the pace seemed to pick up, another paragraph of information explaining things would be dropped in to slow it down.
But there is a reason to read this: the characters.
Adele falls under the category of "head bitch in charge." Nothing stops this girl from trying to get her goals. Vampires in her way? Learn how to fight them. Get abducted and stuck in the Tower of London with no weapons and surrounded by a giant vampire gang? Sharpen a rock to stick in the heart of the vampire you hate.
Seriously, this girl is fantastic.
As for the Greyfriar, well...
[SPOILER ALERT]I liked him a lot as the mysterious enigma and loved when I found out who he actually was! The relationship between him and Adele is absolutely adorable and - not gonna lie - I think the reason I was so sucked into the novel was because of how much I started shipping* him and Adele. After the scene with the letter... I was sold.
[END SPOILER ALERT]
Overall Rating & Final Comments: 7/10. It's a solid story, but it's definitely one driven by characters. The story, while interesting, wouldn't be nearly as interesting without the characters in it.
Have you read any good vampire novels lately?
*Shipping is a fandom term for wanting to people to enter into a relationship or enjoying a relationship between two characters. Or more. But that's multi-shipping, dear reader, and something to be discussed another day.